Lam to announce CE-race bid on Thursday

Top News | Phoenix Un 6 Jan 2017

Hong Kong's "Iron Lady" - Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor - has finally made up her mind to run for chief executive and will announce her candidacy next Thursday.

According to Sing Tao Daily, Lam, 59, will formally announce her intention to run about one week before current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's final policy address.

The former chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ronald Arculli, who is also vice chairman of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, will be her campaign office director.

One day after Leung announced he would not seek re-election - on December 10 - Lam said she would reconsider running for the SAR's top job. She had previously publicly said she would retire from the civil service.

After Leung's shock announcement, Lam said: "This development is very huge, and I must reconsider my situation."

Lam is widely regarded as being as hardline as Leung over various issues. Leung praised her for having the same governing ideas as himself, while Lam complained that the public's severe criticism of Leung had been unfair.

She has twice visited Beijing over the past fortnight, with the trips widely regarded as seeking the central government's blessing to enter the CE- election race - but she dismissed the rumors, saying the visits were only in connection with the Palace Museum project.

It is believed Lam kept her true intentions close to her chest as she wanted to ensure she would get more votes in the 1,194-member Election Committee than the 689 that Leung managed in 2012.

Meanwhile, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who resigned on December 12 following Leung's announcement not to seek re-election, had already waited 25 days as of yesterday for Beijing approval of his resignation.

His move was regarded as showing Beijing his determination to run for the top post, and some see the delay of Beijing approval as a "red light" against him.

Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, met Tsang in Shenzhen yesterday and is believed to have expressed Beijing's intention for him not to run.

Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing and New People's Party chairwoman- legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee have already announced they will run in the chief executive election on March 26.

Lam joined the Administrative Service of the government in August 1980. She became a principal official on July 1, 2007, when she was appointed secretary for development.

She was named chief secretary for administration on July 1, 2012.

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